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Top Dog sign

Kick Back at Top Dog Cafe
Great place for casual lunch in Waves

The Top Dog Cafe is one of our favorite lunch spots on Hatteras Island north of Avon. We usually stop there on our way out of town if it's open. It’s on the ocean side of Highway 12 just south of Rodanthe, in Waves. Although, I must say, Rodanthe, Waves and Salvo blend together for us and we tend to think of Top Dog as being in Rodanthe.

The restaurant’s main serving area is an enclosed two level screened porch that has several ceiling fans. The windows are shaded in the old Hatteras propped wood shutter style. It’s always cool and pleasant on the porch, even on hot days, because direct sunlight never reaches it. No, it’s not air conditioned and some folks don’t like that; they usually sit inside the building near the kitchen where there are a few tables. But if you sit quietly on the porch, you can look out at the passing traffic on Highway 12 and watch the kite surfers across the way at Hatteras Island Surf and Sail while sipping your Corona or iced tea.

The fare is burgers, seafood, dogs, wraps, pastas, beer and wine. Prices range from $1.95 up to $16.95 and there is a kids' menu. Burgers, Jamaican grilled tuna (try the wrap!) and fish tacos are specialties.

Top Dog boasts a Tsunami Burger which is one and a half pounds of meat. I guess you could order one and live off it for most of the week. The last time we were there (Oct. 2006), we caught them on the last weekend they were open for the season. They were out of some things, so we went for the special - a cheddar cheese and bacon burger with fries for $7.95. Wow, you forget how good a burger can taste! This ain’t no microwave- reheated cooked-the-day-before burger. Our waitress told us she's a vegetarian most of the time, but she can't resist these burgers during the summer. We can certainly understand why.

Tuck this one away as a place to try on your next visit.

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Penny Lane Sound Mind & Body